B2B Customer Service and Support Software Blog offers customer service tips for B2B help desks and customer support. TeamSupport is a web based, enterprise class customer support management system designed for B2B technology companies as well as organizations providing external customer support.
Living in the “information age”, it feels like there’s a data point for everything. Not only are insights available for countless topics, but the way data is collected has become streamlined and more efficient. Instead of having a person clicking a counter at a store entrance to see how many people walk through the door each day, some companies now utilize sensors and video technology to acquire this information more accurately and reliably.
When the principles of data collection and analysis are applied to the B2B (business-to-business) world, in particular by using customer service software, similar efficiencies arise. Here are just a few ways customer service software reporting is leveraged by companies to improve the efficiency of their operations…
Review data frequently to identify agent strengths – Every single agent is unique and brings a dynamic skillset with them. Some agents work better on certain channels, be it phone or email, and others thrive working with specific industries such as software or medical. Always look at your data to see where agents are excelling and do your best to support them by placing them in optimal situations for their skills. People in general feel better about their work environment when they are successful, so assign agents different roles with a preferred channel or industry to improve their efficiency and morale.
Test new customer service methods (and record the results) – One excellent way to leverage customer service analytics is by testing and sticking with what works. Don’t hesitate to mix up your service offering in different ways through experimental tactics. For example, attempt to increase your live chat presence on your website for a month and see how it impacts your customer service statistics. Look at the results from that month and compare them to previous months to see if the change had a positive impact. Don’t work on hunches, work on data-driven decisions.
Want to understand specifically how live chat is used in the B2B industry? Click here to download our infographic comparing B2B and B2C live chat!
Determine exactly what products are problematic – Leading software solutions will let you track customer service inquiries at the product level. Evaluate this information regularly and determine what products are giving you headaches and discuss the results with your support team. If a fringe product is the source of many issues, it may not be worthwhile to keep it around as part of your long-term plans.
Learn more about your customers and how to prioritize their needs – In the same way each agent is unique, each customer is also different and has their own set of demands. Analyze their ticket history – do they reach out every time a minor issue pops up or only when it’s urgent – and craft a strategy for each relationship. For specific customers that don’t reach out often, you may want to have your success team check in monthly to help prevent issues from becoming critical. For customers who contact you too much, your leadership may need to set boundaries with them and clarify what is and isn’t worthy of a service request.
In short, the data acquired from customer service software reporting is beneficial to many areas of a business. It helps boost agent satisfaction, agent efficiency, customer satisfaction, and overall product knowledge. Even in an era with an abundance of information and data, some of the insights that can be acquired from customer service software are still unique. This information is highly beneficial to not only the service team but also other departments and executive leadership.
It’s usually pretty difficult to tell when it’s time to upgrade a software system, especially when it comes to your help desk software. Even in the best cases, an outdated or small help desk system can be frustrating for everyone involved. Users are already upset that something isn’t working right on their end, and sometimes they have trouble being patient while your team searches for a solution.
So, how can you tell when you’ve outgrown your help desk software? For starters, it's beneficial to be armed with some metrics that tell you how your users are experiencing your system. For example, tickets may be moving slowly through the resolution process. Your rate of customer complaints might be higher than usual. Your help desk staff could report that your current processes are no longer efficient for resolving tickets.
Signs like these usually point to a problem with your help desk software. On top of that, here are five telltale indicators that it’s time to upgrade your system:
1) Customer queries are left unanswered. Business growth is obviously a good thing, but sometimes it can cause some unintended problems. For example, when you don’t have a lot of customers, it’s easy to get a jump on customer queries. As your customer base grows, it’s common for tickets to remain in your help desk system, and it becomes more difficult to prioritize the volume of tickets coming through your system. In this case, look for help desk software that automatically classifies and prioritizes tickets as they come in, and offers reporting features that will allow you to spot any inefficiencies that remain, such as lack of equipment or staff members.
2) You’re out of data storage. Older help desk systems may have limited storage options, which makes it difficult to hang on to a complete history of tickets and resolutions. Upgrading to a new cloud-based system (i.e. SaaS - Software as a Service) can be intimidating, but it will provide faster access to solutions and better record-keeping. And, once you go through the SaaS onboarding process, it's easy to create a more productive workflow.
3) Your system doesn’t connect. Modern SaaS systems connect via API and communicate efficiently and automatically (see #5). If your help desk doesn’t share information with your project management software and your customer relationship software, you’re making extra work for your support team, your developers, and your sales team to communicate. A good help desk will have API access or export capabilities.
4) You don’t have a customer hub. Does your help desk staff spend a significant amount of time troubleshooting problems that could be easily solved by clients themselves? You can eliminate frustration from your clients and your team members by upgrading to a system that includes some customer self-service features. For example, a customer hub on your website can reduce ticket volume by providing solutions to common problems and offering built-in live chat for quick problem resolution.
Do you already have a self-service solution but your customers aren't using it? Click here to download our whitepaper on how to drive customers to online self-service solutions!
5) You need better automation capabilities. As you grow, automation is key to prioritizing and resolving tickets quickly, generating data reports, and maintaining an efficient workflow. Automation can be helpful in the ticketing system, especially if they allow you to customize the rules to best suit your ticket resolution process. For example, you can set rules that will automatically remind your staff to follow up on tickets (especially important for help desk SLAs), ping customers when a ticket requires more information, and escalate, route, or close tickets as needed. Taking these small manual tasks off your team’s plate can improve resolution time and prevent tickets from slipping through the cracks.
Choosing New Help Desk Software
If any of these signs sound familiar to you, there’s a good chance it’s time to upgrade your help desk software. Now, how do you choose the best one for you? Start by talking to the people who handle your help desk tickets and find out what could help them do a better job. Find out what help desk software features are "must have" so your team handle a greater volume of tickets with more efficiency. Even though new help desk software is an investment, it will pay off in improved productivity, greater customer satisfaction, and reduced overhead.
Megan Pacella is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com. She is a Nashville-based freelance writer specializing in healthcare, wellness, and lifestyle content. In addition to writing for national outlets such as USA Today, she works with a variety of healthcare companies to create patient engagement and education programs.
If you’re under any doubt about how important customer service is, almost nine out of ten people have stopped doing business with a company due to a poor service experience. Meanwhile, 55 percent of people would willingly spend more money to guarantee superior service. With this information in mind, here are seven tips to sharpen your team's B2B customer service skills so that you deliver the kind of experience people are looking for.
1. Learn to Listen Very few things annoy a customer quite like having to explain their problem multiple times, especially to the same staff member. This, combined with the need to fully understand a problem before it can be solved, means that it’s crucial to teach your team how to listen properly. Many customer service reps will have established a bad habit of interrupting and pre-empting problems. Teach them to actively listen and clarify anything that they don’t understand. Then, and only then, should they attempt to provide a resolution to the issue.
2. Get Personal Customers want to feel valued and treated as individuals rather than just another anonymous customer or client. Simple steps include teaching your team to always ask for a person's name, something which only happens 21 percent of the time, and sending personal emails rather than automated responses. In addition, people like to talk to other people who they perceive to be similar to them. For this reason, you should teach your team to utilize B2B customer service software so they can keep track of details and find common ground quickly.
3. Remove Obstacles An important part of delivering excellent customer service is ensuring that customers do not have to wait very long to receive the service they need. It’s important that you remove any unnecessary obstacles, such as long telephone hold times or long waits caused by a lack of available staff. The average customer is willing to wait a maximum of 13 minutes for in-person help, while 22 percent of people will not wait more than five minutes to reach somebody via phone.
4. Stay Positive Customer service can be stressful, especially when you're dealing with customers who are angry or upset. Nevertheless, your B2B customer service training should emphasize the importance of adopting a positive approach, no matter how intense things get. Many customers can be won over if a satisfactory solution to their issue is found in a timely manner. Teach your team to stay calm and remain optimistic.
5. Avoid Guesswork One of the biggest mistakes made by a customer service team is trying to answer questions they don't know the answer to. Honesty is usually the best policy, as long as they also explain what they will do to acquire the answer. "It's tempting to make something up or take your best guess when somebody thinks you're an expert, but it's a mistake," says Jason Brick, writing for American Express. "Instead, admit it by saying, 'I don't know, but here's what I'll do to find out.' Then set a time to get back to your customer with an answer."
6. Assist Online Much of the workload for in-person and phone customer service can be reduced if you take steps to help your customers out online. Try to provide B2B omnichannel customer service via channels such as online chat, self-service, and email. Do your best to respond to messages quickly and personally.
Want to better understand and dive deeper into omnichannel customer service? Click here to download our whitepaper on omnichannel with a specific focus on self-service!
7. Request Feedback Last but not least, one of the single best ways you can sharpen your team's customer service skills is by actively seeking feedback from your customers. This can be achieved through short phone and email surveys given to customers after an interaction or through a form on your website. Both methods allow customers to freely share their thoughts.
By receiving honest feedback, you can better understand where your team is falling short and where you need to improve.
Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales training and customer experience company. It specialises in providing exceptional customer service coaching to provide organisations with sales ready solutions for their employees. She enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts to develop better sales and customer service skills in sales people.
There is a fundamental difference between companies who sell to businesses (B2B) and companies who sell to individual consumers (B2C). Your approach is different, your tools are different (or at least they should be), and processes are often different as well. To paraphrase our friends at the leading business software comparison site G2 Crowd, "Treating B2B and B2C like they're the same is a recipe for disappointment".
Speaking of G2 Crowd, they recently put together a fantastic B2B Marketing Guide - if you are in marketing, sales, or even customer service at a business to business organization, we highly recommend this guide. Aside from the great marketing tips, we were most interested in the vast array of similarities in B2B marketing and B2B support. We both deal with the same issues, challenges, and differences, because at the end of the day working with other businesses is, well - different. Read on to see the list of 8 ways marketing and support are different for B2B.
1) B2B products and services tend to be more complex than those designed for consumers
B2B solutions are intended to handle business processes and bottlenecks, so they are often quite complex and more complicated than products designed for consumers. This also means that issues encountered in business are often more difficult and take longer to resolve.
2) Developing long-term relationships is critical
While consumer purchases are often short-term sales and tend to be motivated by personal wishes (think a new pair of shoes or candy bar), business purchases impact the business itself. Some examples include accounting software or consulting services. As a result, the relationship a vendor and business customer build is essential to customer satisfaction and retention.
3) B2B purchases usually carry a high price tag
In the business to business world it's not just the initial purchase price, it's the cost for maintenance or renewal, and the indirect costs of the product or service on the business output. It goes without saying that when you pay more, you expect more.
4) B2B interactions carry a higher level of commitment
Because there is a higher level of complexity and a longer selling cycle in B2B, when businesses make a purchase, it's typically a major commitment. This can include a contract, a long training/implementation period, or a change in how they do business. When a company makes a purchase decision they usually don't expect to repeat the process any time soon,
Want to better understand the difference in B2B customer support? Click here to read our eBook: The Ultimate Guide to B2B Customer Support!
5) There may be multiple decision-makers involved in the process
Many factors go into B2B purchases, and often many people and/or departments are involved. For example, when a company purchases customer support software there could be decision makers from customer support, operations, and even finance involved. Managing this process is much more difficult than with a single consumer decision maker.
6) When working with a B2B customer, you have to remember that you're affecting a professional's busy work day
Whether it's a product update email, a request for an "account review", or a support request, every interaction you have with a B2B customer takes time from their day (and their to-do list!). Be respectful of that, and work to provide value in exchange for their time.
7) B2B buyers are influenced by their experiences as B2C consumers
Despite all of the differences in B2B vs B2C, every business buyer/customer is also a consumer in their personal lives. This means that the experiences they have in their personal life, both in marketing and customer service interactions, will impact their expectations of the interactions they have in their business life.
8) Departmental "silos" are bad for both customers and businesses
Of course we saved the best for last - collaboration is king! As noted in G2 Crowd's guide, "Now more than ever, B2B teams are working together to create unforgettable customer experiences and make more sales". There is power in collaboration - you get to draw on the wisdom and experience of many people and as a result you can provide better, faster, more enjoyable customer experiences that can differentiate you against your competitors.
As you can see, marketing and customer support are the same in many ways when it comes to the B2B industry. Value your customer's time and understand that they have expectations influenced by both colleagues and factors outside of the business world. Do a great job at this and you'll have awesome relationships with your business customers!
Properly managing your help desk software is just as important as what solution you choose. Even if you have the best technology, if it’s not properly configured the software can create problems and hostility with its users. One of the best ways to optimize how employees utilize your help desk system is through implementing custom fields. Not only do they save time, but they also improve the communication of your team with customers and even between departments. Here are a few ways on how to set up a help desk software properly with custom fields to save time and money…
Always give fields an appropriate name – Too often, when companies are implementing software, they rush through the setup phase. One of the areas that is commonly impacted by this expedited process is custom fields. Instead of hurrying through your fields to complete them and move on to the next thing, be very clear with your labels. For example, don’t just put “Location” as a field name or else you’ll get an array of answers like “Chicago”, “Canada”, or “North America”. “State” or “Country” are both much better and more defined field names that will do a good job at capturing the information you need. Not properly naming fields can be a headache because once you realize information isn’t being input correctly, you will likely have to go back and manually fix it in your help desk database.
Make sure to appropriately mark form fields as “required” – When requesting information from prospects or customers, don’t ask for irrelevant fields like “Middle Name” to be required because they lack value and take up time. On the flip side, something like “Salutation” may appear trivial but it can be beneficial to require this field so agents know how to properly address a customer should they have a name that is common for more than one gender (i.e. Jamie, Casey). Customization is important in help desk software and the more relevant information you have the better. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself “does this field improve the help desk experience for my customers?”. If it doesn’t, the field probably isn’t important enough to make it required.
Use child fields to clean up the information entry process – One of the best ways to avoid showing custom fields that aren’t applicable is to use parent/child relationships. For example, in help desk software it’s easy to configure fields so that when “Software” is chosen as the industry, a child field can appear that says “What Type of Software?”. From here, information such as “Accounting” or “Healthcare” can be selected in the child field to provide additional and relevant information. This helps to get more details about customers in an elegant way and avoids form fatigue, improving the customer experience. The additional information also lets agents make more informed decisions when working on their issues.
Interested in learning more about the specifics of the customer experience? Click here to download our whitepaper that focuses on managing the customer experience to improve satisfaction rates.
In short, properly configuring custom fields is a subtle but effective way to streamline communication, to obtain additional relevant information, and to create a better relationship with prospects and customers. Make sure to correctly label fields so the information you acquire is relevant. In addition, be selective when requiring form fields from customers and prospects. Lastly, always try to streamline the form structure by using parent/child relationships with form fields. Leveraging the capabilities of custom fields may seem like a small change, but when done at scale it can add notable value to your business.
The amount of focus companies devote to customer experience and engagement has continued to increase. Especially for companies who can’t beat their competition when it comes to price, an excellent customer experience can be a key differentiator. This is especially true in the B2B industry, where companies are often willing to pay more for a better experience. One of the best ways to improve the help desk portion of the customer experience is by utilizing external help desk software.
With so much emphasis placed on the front and middle areas of the B2B customer experience – including excellent sales presentations and extensive legal discussions – the end of the experience often gets ignored. However, the last part is arguably the most important aspect as it’s not only the longest lasting but also the area where customer churn is directly influenced. It’s up to the help desk team to ensure customers stay happy and continue to have a positive experience with your company.
With all of this said, here are a few ways help desk software can improve B2B customer experience and engagement…
Software helps to create a consistent brand experience – This point is especially important and relevant for parent companies with multiple brands. Have your help desk team work with marketing to create and customize all help desk content across every distinct brand – from email templates to self-service page design – so that your customers know what to expect when they contact you. This is easy to manage at the brand level in software and you can even define customers as engaging with specific brands. For example, any follow up messages from agents will automatically have the properly branded email address and signature.
Be proactive with customers by utilizing intelligent communication – Now that you have a consistent and branded help desk experience, it’s time to show it off to customers. Leverage customer relationships and utilize the repository of information located in help desk software to ensure communication is happening with each customer on a frequent basis. A bidirectional help desk integration with a CRM system (such as Hubspot or Salesforce) can also be beneficial to see if sales has reached out recently and ensure you aren’t conflicting with their efforts.
Want to learn more about CRM systems and how they interact with help desk software? Click here to download our whitepaper on the relationship between Salesforce and help desk systems!
Create more communication channels and have them funnel through help desk software – Deploying a help desk software solution makes it easy for customers to contact your company in their preferred method. Be it over the phone, via email, or through live chat, creating choice for customers is empowering and places the power of their experience back in their hands. Offering multiple channels also lowers the barriers of contact between you and your customers, meaning they will be more likely to reach out with a problem instead of remaining silent as it gets worse. Offering such a wide array of communication methods helps to improve the B2B help desk customer experience.
Leverage self-service to answer simple questions – Customers no longer expect to have to reach out to the help desk team to answer a simple question. Instead, as an alternative, many companies are utilizing help desk software to power self-service solutions for their customers. Not only can customers access information on their own time, but this technology also lets agents focus on the more difficult inquiries that truly require their attention.
To summarize, companies are utilizing help desk software to improve customer experience and engagement in multiple ways. To start, create a consistent brand experience and be proactive in letting customers know about it. After you’ve done this, make it easier for customers to not only contact you but also to find the answers they need without initiating direct communication. Help desk software can be a great asset in meeting the needs of your customers on all levels and ensuring they have excellent experiences with your company.
Thanks to technology, we live in a world that is ever-changing and evolving. It may seem hard to believe, but only forty years ago if you wanted to communicate a message you had to pick up the phone or write a letter. There wasn’t any email, texting, or social media. Now, the ways we communicate and share information are instantaneous and can become extremely immersive.
One of the more modern ways to communicate, teach, and learn is through virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). As an overview, VR involves creating an entire new reality for your senses, often by using a visual headset, while AR utilizes technology to improve upon how our senses perceive things in the real world. The main image above is an example of AR, where a car manual is brought to life with descriptive imagery and a tablet.
So, how will these two emerging technologies impact customer support? Here are a few ways…
VR and AR can be used to train customer support agents – For companies that have many physical products, VR and AR can provide agents a way to “view” a device without the need to locate a real product. For example, an AR overlay can be used on a generic product and employees can swipe to see the different version the product has and, more importantly, how they are different. This can result in companies loading hundreds of physical product variations (different color, accessories, etc.) into an AR or VR software solution for each agent to utilize. A process like this for working with products and inventory can be expensive to implement right now, but like most technology we expect it will become more affordable in the future.
Smartphone and tablet apps can use AR to assist customers – Some companies now bundle components of AR into an app for their customers to use when sending information about issues. For example, they can hold a smartphone up to the product that isn’t working correctly and all parts will be identified in real time. This lets customers know the exact name and model number of the malfunctioning part to send to agents. Enabling customers to be so precise with their information during the initial inquiry prevents less back and forth conversations, resulting in faster issue resolution times (one of the most important customer support metrics).
Want to learn more about important customer support metrics to monitor? Click here to download our eBook on reporting and metrics for B2B customer support teams!
VR and AR support can save money and increase internal collaboration – This is especially true for companies with a global presence that face language barriers. An agent in North American can look at a construction site and take a VR photo, making notes about potential issues and using generic labels to highlight problem areas. Working in real time and because all labels in a VR solution can be easily translated, an expert agent in Asia with no knowledge of English can understand exactly what the other agent views as problematic. In addition, they can respond using their own labels (uneven foundation, insufficient load balancing, etc.) to help the agent halfway across the world. This may seem futuristic, but it’s how companies will collaborate in the future because it saves time and important details don’t get lost in translation.
Wrapping up, virtual reality and augmented reality will impact customer support because they create ways to help customers that don’t exist today. Not only can agents get up to speed faster on new topics with the technology, but it can be deployed to customers so they can create better and more informative issue requests. VR and AR will also do wonders in the future by breaking down communication barriers, enabling agents around the world to assist each other regardless of the language they speak. This technology may not be a staple of the customer support industry overnight, but expect to see it leveraged to create new and exciting ways to help customers more efficiently in the future.
With so many choices available, selecting the right customer service system for your business isn’t easy. Each member of your leadership team may want different things in the system, but at the end of the day the technology you decide to go with should be the best one for helping your customers.
Here are some of the top things to look for in a customer service system so you can find one that fits your business…
Make sure the system matches your industry – Too often, companies are wowed by salespeople and big names when choosing a system. Don’t let this happen to you. If you're a B2B company, don’t waste time evaluating solutions built for the B2C industry. Instead, focus on finding a customer support system that is built to handle complex B2B relationships to ensure you can resolve customer issues faster. You’ll find that choosing the right system will not only make your life easier but it will also improve customer satisfaction.
Select a system that lets customers communicate how they want to – The days of offering only phone and email support are in the past and is why even smaller companies are utilizing a system to meet the needs of their customers. Even in the B2B industry, live chat is becoming a requirement and many customers prefer to use chat for getting a quick answer to a simple question. Taking it a step further, more companies are also now utilizing visual support solutions such as screen sharing than in years past. Customers can show an agent their issue in real-time and receive a resolution to the problem right away without having to trade emails and screenshots for hours or even days.
Prioritize internal collaboration when looking for a system – Playing phone tag with customers can be challenging enough, so why would you want to do this internally? Instead, opt for a system that lets employees create private actions on tickets so they can discuss how to resolve the issue within the online system where all the details are located. Leveraging technology in this manner saves time and enables everyone to be on the same page regarding the issue. Should the customer reach out to see if the issue has been resolved yet, any agent can quickly refer to the system to see the resolution status and progress being made towards fixing the issue.
Interested in learning other ways your team can work together with customer service software? Click here to download our white paper on leveraging your team's collective knowledge to provide better customer service!
Choose a customer service system you can grow with – You don’t want to spend the time and effort to re-platform your system a year from now because you selected a standalone ticket management solution just to save a few bucks. Instead, choose a customer service system that has a multitude of necessary features from the start. Ideally, your system will provide both ticket management and self-service so that the content created for your self-service portal can be easily referenced in tickets. If you can find a system that also offers live chat without an additional integration (and cost) that’s even better.
To summarize, there are several things to evaluate when looking for a customer service system that fits your business. Choose a system built for your industry that features robust capabilities you can utilize right away as well as grow into. In addition, listen to both your customers and employees before selecting a system to ensure whatever you choose meets their unique needs. Choosing the wrong system can create chaos with your customers, but choosing the right one can help in making customer service a competitive advantage and a strength within your company.
Now popular among businesses of all industries, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems are vital to the success of any business. Not only do they work well to keep current customers happy, but they also are frequently utilized to nurture relationships with prospective customers as they look to switch vendors. But what exactly is the relationship between a CRM and support software? How do the two systems work together and, more specifically, what can be done within the CRM to help solve customer issues faster?
Here are a few reasons how CRM best practices make customer support software more efficient and how to properly align the two systems…
Deploy an integration featuring a bidirectional link for tickets – The starting point for unifying the two is to deploy a customer support software and CRM integration between the two systems. As a bidirectional link, this enables CRM information related to tickets to be viewed within the support software and vice versa. So, what’s the point of this integration? It provides support with visibility into how the sales and marketing teams have interacted with customers in the CRM so they can be smarter with their responses to issues.
Emphasize clean data entry into your CRM team to benefit your support team – When utilizing an integration between your CRM and support software, it’s important that the information entered in to your CRM doesn’t contain any errors and remains consistent. Don’t have the salespeople give stacks of business cards to an intern for manual entry. This is a poor business strategy for customer support as having unkempt data in your CRM now affects more than just sales. For example, your CRM may have “ACME”, “ACME Company” and “ACME Inc.” with notes pointing to the right company… but in support software these notes may not be carried over and you’ll have three companies with the exact same name. Support employees will be confused and it will take longer to help the customer when an issue arises.
Did you know Salesforce is one of the best CRM solutions for assiting customer support teams? Click here to download our whitepaper on how a CRM like Salesforce can help your team work smarter and more efficiently!
Keep customer support in mind when making custom fields in your CRM – One of the best ways to use an integration between support software and a CRM is by linking custom fields. This way, employees can see information entered in the CRM such as customer longevity and deal status so they know exactly how to respond to customers. However, if these fields are not clearly labeled or are misused, it can lead to chaos in a support system. Labeling a field “Customer Size” in your CRM but then putting only “National” or “International” as field variables isn’t helpful to support who wants to know the number of employees at the company (which is really labeled “Employee Count”). Be extremely precise with your labels to boost customer support efficiency and don’t use sales code words or acronyms.
Ensure CRM training sessions have a customer support voice in the room – Even for companies who have leveraged the same CRM for a decade, training sessions are common. New features are always being added and employees need to know how to make the most of them. As a best practice, always include an employee that is knowledgeable about your support system in these CRM training sessions. They will be able to spot how the new features and changes can impact the support team to make them more efficient when it comes to helping customers. They can also be there to raise the red flag should something new cause issues with support workflows and how information is shared between the two systems.
Wrapping up, CRM best practices make customer support software more efficient because they enable the support team to do a better job when it comes to helping customers. Linking the two systems together so support can pull clean information from clearly defined fields means they can solve issues faster. In addition, it’s always important to keep support in the loop when it comes to CRM changes so they aren’t surprised by any alterations. Having a strong CRM benefits not only sales and marketing, but it makes the life of support teams easier and improves communication throughout the entire company.
With the globalization of the business world, competition is more fierce than ever before. Companies lose deals to competitors located half way around the world and are always looking for ways to win new business. One of the ways B2B companies are looking to one-up their competition is by highlighting their excellent customer service. In fact, the customer experience as a whole is not something many companies excel at, which makes companies that truly shine at the very end of the experience process more appealing to prospects.
Let’s look further at how to leverage B2B customer service as a competitive advantage…
Identify competitor weaknesses and put an emphasis on thriving in these areas – Developing a business strategy related to customer support is important. Instead of going toe-to-toe where your competition thrives, highlight your own strengths in areas where they are weak. For example, if a competitor doesn’t offer a chat or self-service solution, make sure you prioritize these offerings in your own sales and marketing materials. The same goes for companies that are facing competitors with limited support hours. By doing a direct comparison of your hours to theirs, it’s easy to quantify exactly how much more availability you have for a customer should they select your business.
Get good at customer service (and let everyone know about it) – This isn’t an advantage that will happen overnight, but once you become great at customer service there’s no reason to hide that you have an all-star team helping customers. If you’re a software company, encourage your trial customers to not only test out the features of your software but also to try out your customer service team. As a unique customer service competitive advantage, tell them to reach out with any issues so they can experience what kind of interactions they will have as a full customer with your business.
Train customer service to always prioritize retention – Worrying about new customers is fine, but at the end of the day it’s keeping your existing customers around that keeps the lights on. With this said, training agents to not only help customers but empowering them with tactics to keep customers is vital to success. Is it worth losing a good customer because your contact there is having a bad day? Absolutely not. Make sure agents understand this so they can humanize customer service by talking down customers and following up when appropriate. It’s also important to remember customers don’t forget about an occasional free upgrade or going the extra mile when they truly need you. These gifts may not seem like much to an agent, but they can make or break a customer relationship.
Want to learn more about customer service and the ROI it provides businesses? Click here to check out our infographic on the ROI of Customer Support and the value it brings to a business!
Make sure departments have a way to share their success with each other – Lastly, one way to make customer service a competitive advantage has nothing to do with direct customer communication. Instead, it’s all about doing a great job talking and collaborating internally. Create a virtual location for employees to celebrate together when a new sale happens and also when a customer is positively impacted by an excellent support experience. Too often, people in a company are disconnected and it’s a good way for salespeople to show prospective customers how different departments work together. It directly highlights the culture of your company instead of just saying “we have a culture” in sales meetings.
In short, there are several ways to make B2B customer service a competitive advantage. Getting good at customer service and then focusing on competitor weaknesses is a great and logical place to start. As you grow, don’t forget that emphasizing less practical customer service skills – such as retention and culture – are also excellent ways to remain authentic and keep customers happy. As more companies begin to weigh customer service more heavily in their decision-making process, it’s become more important for companies to optimize their operations in this area sooner than later to keep up with the competition and avoid losing deals.
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